Gillian Flynn is a master of emotional manipulation. In her latest book, Gone Girl, a man comes home on his wedding anniversary to find a disturbing scene – front door open, evidence of a violent struggle, pool of blood, and a missing wife.
But is she dead or just gone?
Flynn really puts you through the wringer as she has you rallying behind the husband one minute – sure he’s being unjustly framed – and the next she has you shaking your head, wondering how he could be such an insensitive idiot.
What’s so agonizing is that for the most part, we only learn about the wife through extensive diary entries and the husband’s memories. The problem is, these two views don’t always match up.
So…who’s telling the truth? The missing wife or the imperfect husband?
Was his wife really such a raging, manipulative bitch or was she the compassionate soulmate trying to patch their life back together? The constantly evolving views of the characters leave your head spinning until you just don’t know what or who to believe. The noose gets tighter around the husband’s neck as the evidence piles up against him. And yet you want to believe him. You want to be on his side.
And that’s when Flynn comes along and lets you rest your head on her shoulder and says, “There, there.” She has you right where she wants you.
How does Flynn get us to care for such a flawed character? Genius!
I picked up this book after an editor at the SCBWI LA conference recommended it as an excellent example of pacing. She wasn’t kidding. I lost many hours of sleep staying up reading just one more chapter.
With the fabulous diary entries, this fine read qualifies as one of my Postal Reading Challenge books. Learn more about this splendiferous challenge here at the Indextrious Reader’s blog. Feel free to join in if you are so inspired.
Here’s a plot summary for Gone Girl from Flynn’s website:
Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. As The Washington Post proclaimed, her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
If you love a great psychological mystery with fantastically twisted and well developed characters, you will love this book.
Learn more about Gillian Flynn on her website here.